To say that plumbers are in short supply is an understatement! According to the National Association of Home Builders, there is a 55% shortage of plumbers available for work. At the same time, plumbing job growth is projected to climb by 14% over the next decade.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 469,000 plumbers nationwide and California employs 40,400 of them, the most of any state in the nation. According to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website, the projected growth rate in California is 13% for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.

The truth is that plumbers are in demand, and it is a perfect time to upgrade your skills, assemble experience, and take your career to the next level. The first step to a career in plumbing is finding a registered apprenticeship program with a licensed plumber and applying to join directly. You can locate registered apprenticeship programs through local unions, government programs, or directly with some master plumbers. Apprentices earn between $40,900 and $54,800 In California as they learn on the job and in the classroom. Currently, California has 1,400 apprenticeship programs with 73,000 apprentice participants.

Required Skills
The skills needed to be successful in the plumbing profession include:

  • Ability to utilize, fix, and maintain machines and tools
  • Knowledge of building and construction
  • To be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • Knowledge of math
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Ability to use your initiative
  • Ability to work well with your hands
  • Customer service skills
  • Ability to complete basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

California Apprentice Programs Requirements
While requirements for specific apprentice programs may vary, most programs require applicants to be 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma or GED, demonstrate an ability to read, write and speak English, and present verification to potential employers of a legal right to work in the United States. Once accepted to an apprenticeship program, during the term of five (5) years, the apprentice will work 9000 hours of on-the-job training and attend 1080 hours of related training classes.

A partial list of plumbing apprenticeship programs in California can be found at

Getting Started as a Plumber
To legally perform plumbing work on projects valuing more than $500 in labor and materials in the state of California, you must be a licensed contractor. However, California does not require you to have a license to begin working and learning if you are directly supervised by a registered contractor.

For more information on becoming a plumber or addressing all the plumbing issues you may encounter, visit If you have found this article to be helpful and you would like to continue to receive information from the SoCal Plumbers, please go to